Camp Leakey is located in Kalimantan, Borneo
and was founded by the Canadian primatologist
, Biruté Galdikas
in 1971 in order to study the reclusive orangutans
native to the region. The camp is named for her well known backer and mentor, Louis Leakey
. Galdikas is known as one of three pioneering primate researchers funded by Leakey and nicknamed ' Leakey's Angels
'. The other two were Dian Fossey
, who studied mountain gorillas
before her murder and was the subject of the film "Gorillas in the Mist
", and Jane Goodall
who studied chimpanzees
Upon her arrival in Kalimantan, Galdikas began the camp with a small number of huts clustered in the rainforest
. Over the past 31 years she has taken what once was a temporary outpost and turned it into an established field station
with the assistance of local authorities. Years later she would aid in the inception of the Tanjung Puting National Park
which is one of the largest National Parks in South East Asia
and where Camp Leakey resides.
Today, Camp Leakey remains an active field station where Galdikas spends a good portion of her time. In addition to her research, she frequently lectures at universities and in 1995 her first book about her experiences, "Reflections of Eden
" was published. Galdikas is also the President of the Orangutan Foundation International
(OFI) which she founded in 1986 whose purpose is to protect and preserve not only the apes, but the rainforests they inhabit as well.
It is possible to visit Camp Leakey as a tourist
, although reservations are a must and the camp is only accessible by boat. There you will be able to go on a guided trek
through the rainforest in search of wild orangutans and bear witness to feeding time for the 'regulars' at the camp. Should you be fortunate enough to make the trip, be on the lookout for David and Davida, two of the more personable subjects in Galdikas' study, who are rumored to greet visitors at the dock upon arrival.